Today, together with the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF), Ascot unveils two state of the art exercise bikes in the jockeys' changing room which it hopes will encourage jockeys to warm up sufficiently, therefore reducing the potential for injuries.
Former Champion Jockey and President of the IJF, Sir AP McCoy OBE, said:
“As President of the IJF, I am delighted that Ascot have chosen to support the work they are doing in this way and hope the bikes help to reduce the injuries that can be sustained out on the track whilst riding. The charity is very important to me and in the past, helped with my own recovery on numerous occasions.”
Investment in preventative measures is a key new area for the IJF and Ed Stroud, Head of Rehabilitation at the IJF, supported the new additions:
“The Injured Jockeys Fund primarily aims to take a jockey from the point of injury and get them back fit to ride, depending on their injury level. The bikes here today represent the second facet of what the charity aims to achieve. Injury prevention is high on the list and giving jockeys the resources to warm up correctly here at Ascot, will greatly assist in this.”
Paul Struthers, Chief Executive at the Professional Jockeys Association, added:
“The welfare, wellbeing and fitness of jockeys is paramount to us and we are delighted that Ascot has chosen to invest in this way. It supports the ongoing work in this area by the PJA, Jockeys Employment and Training Scheme and the IJF and demonstrates yet again that Ascot leads the way amongst racecourses in how they view and treat jockeys.”
Ascot also launches a new ambassador programme in its hospitality areas which will see £1 per cover donated to the charity, along with additional on the day donations from racegoers.
This initiative will form part of Ascot’s charitable strategy to support Racing charities and will enable guests to learn more about the sport from a jockey’s perspective. Ascot will be able to provide IJF staff (jockeys and ex-jockeys) with employment in addition to being able to donate to the charity.
The programme will engage four jockeys and ex-jockeys (Emily Jones, David Crosse, John Andrew Reid and Mattie Batchelor) on an ambassadorial basis to deliver overviews of racing to fine dining guests at all 20 Ascot racedays in addition to those in the Parade Ring, Panoramic, Trackside and On 5 during Royal Ascot.
Jockeys will introduce themselves with a brief summary of the work that the charity does and how it benefits jockeys and their families including how it has benefitted them personally before running through the card and offering tips. Jockeys will be available throughout the day to provide their experience of the racing industry and answer any questions as well as demonstrate riding equipment.
Customers will have the opportunity to visit a fence during the jumps season to experience the action close-up and will be taken to the starting stalls or the Parade Ring, subject to raceday, during the flat season.